WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement today regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement of $1.5 billion in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for over 50 nationwide transportation projects.
“The funds released today for over 50 transportation projects across the nation will improve our infrastructure and create many good paying jobs – and that is great news,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “This program is a step in the right direction toward accomplishing the vision I laid out in the Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009 – which would set national goals to guide our transportation funding decisions. A national focus on improving multi-modal, regional projects will make the transportation of passengers and freight more seamless throughout corridors traversing several states, and will in turn improve the free flow of goods to and from American businesses and boost our economy.”
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to fund multi-modal transportation projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. It is a discretionary, competitive, merit-based grant program administered by the Secretary of Transportation. Highway, bridge, passenger and freight rail, transit, port, and intermodal projects are all eligible for the grants. ARRA funded this new grant program at $1.5 billion.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) received 1,380 applications requesting $56.5 billion in funding for surface transportation projects, well exceeding the $1.5 billion available. As part of its review and selection process, the Secretary of Transportation was required to consider job creation and economic stimulus and to take measures to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of funds and an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural communities. Each application was vetted through a comprehensive review process that involved all surface transportation modal administrations at DOT, with oversight from an additional Senior Leadership review team.
Last year, Senators Rockefeller and Lautenberg introduced S. 1036, the “Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009.” S. 1036 would establish a national surface transportation policy and overall goals and objectives for the performance of our national surface transportation system. These objectives and goals focus on correcting the current problems that plague the system, such as crippling levels of congestion and too many deaths and injuries, while preparing the system to accommodate future needs. They recognize that decisions about how to build our surface transportation system affect the ability of people and goods to connect with one another, the safety and health of the public, environmental protection, energy conservation, land use and development, economic development, and job creation, amongst other issues.